Alabama Football: DeAndrew White Rises Up to Save A.J. McCarron

Damon YoungCorrespondent IIOctober 13, 2011

TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 08:  DeAndrew White #2 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates his touchdown against the Vanderbilt Commodores with D.J. Fluker #76 and Darius Hanks #15 at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 8, 2011 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Three catches against Vanderbilt.

Eight catches overall for the season.

You'd be hard-pressed to say that redshirt freshman wide receiver DeAndrew White has been the workhorse for Alabama catching the ball.

In fact, White has failed to even appear in the Crimson Tide's three biggest games against Penn State, Arkansas and Florida.

With only eight total receptions in six games, it's hard to see how White could have an impact. Try telling that to A.J. McCarron.

Saturday night against Vanderbilt, two of White's three catches bailed Alabama's young quarterback out of some truly bad decisions.

With 28 seconds left in the first half and Alabama holding on to a 7-0 lead, McCarron had led Alabama down the field and were threatening with a 3rd-and-3 at the Vandy 5-yard line.

A.J. took the snap stepped up and rolled to this left to find a clear running lane to the end zone, but instead tossed the ball to the back of the end zone.

Seemingly out of nowhere, White leaped up to snatch the ball out of the Bryant Denny night while keeping one of his feet inside the end line.

Immediately following the catch, a quick cutaway to Nick Saban showed an angry coach who saw the risk McCarron took.

Later in the third quarter with Alabama now in control 21-0, the Tide were facing a 3rd-and-7 at the Commodore 39-yard line. 

This time McCarron launched an ill-advised shot down the field into double coverage, but again, there was the true freshman White to save A.J. and produce six points for Alabama.

This type of play from the young receiver isn't all that surprising to anyone who listened to the praise heaped on White in the preseason by his teammate and coaches.

We just had yet to see it in action.

Through six games, the only consistent threat in the air for Alabama has been Marquis Maze. He leads the Tide with 31 catches. Second to him is Trent Richardson with 13. After that, it's been wide receiver by committee.

There hasn't been a constant No. 2 threat for McCarron at this point. Perhaps that's a good thing since opposing defenses can't key on another receiver, perhaps not.

For some reason, even with 31 catches, Maze doesn't appear to get the type of attention from Alabama foes the way Julio Jones did.

Most would have pegged Darius Hanks to be Alabama's second big threat, but he has been slowed after having two sit out the first two games of 2011 and really hasn't picked up steam yet.

Will DeAndrew's relatively big night against Vanderbilt cause the Alabama coaching staff to include him more in the Tide's passing attack?

White's three catches only put him third on the night behind Maze's nine and Hanks' five, but it's the two I wrote about above that raise one's eyebrow.

Sometimes you need a receiver who can just go up there and take a catch away from a potential mistake.

I just have a feeling those won't be the last ill-advised throws that McCarron needs bailed out on.